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How to Reframe Common Words and Phrases That Can Be Harmful to Others

I had this crazy idea recently that I will start writing and sharing more on my blog. It won't always be themed or professionally laid out, but it will be honest and real. Do you ever think about the true power of words? I am no expert when it comes to writing and language, but I do use common sense when I say or write certain words. There are so many times that family members, friends or acquaintances say words that really make me cringe. If you are a product of any type of childhood abuse or abuse in general, some words can be particularly triggering, and can bring up negative feelings or thoughts. Some words may seem so common and innocent when in fact they are quite harmful. I am writing this post not as an attack on anyone, but simply as a tool to maybe help others see how their use of words can be hurting others without knowing it. 

Some words and phrases to consider using an alternate for: 

  • Hate. Hate is such a harsh and unnecessary word in my opinion. I heard it so much in my household growing up, but I will spare you the details. You have to really have some deep-rooted issues if you throw this word around on the daily. I see folks online commenting on a food photo and say oh I hate broccoli or whatever the food is. I see it when they complain about celebrities they don't care for. Saying you hate them is so unneeded. Maybe keep scrolling or if you are asked your opinion you can simply say you do not care for that person or they are not your cup of tea. Doesn't that sound better? Some alternate words or phrases you can use are: dislike, not my thing, not a fan, or even have a distaste for. There are definitely more things you can say, but it is ultimately your choice. 
  • Kill. This word really has an effect on me personally. I have been told by family members in the past I will kill you if you do so and so, and it stayed with me my whole life. That is not something anyone should say to another person or even joke about. Saying oh he/she/they might kill or murder you if you do that is horrible. What is the purpose of even saying something like that? I believe that you can speak to someone regularly, and not know some of the details of their past that with one word, you can put them in a bad headspace. I have seen some friends online post about someone who might have taken their life, and they use the term unalive or unalived themselves. While that might be an odd word, it sure beats using kill or killed. 

Two common words that people often use with a negative connotation are "problem" and "fail." Here are alternative words that can convey a similar meaning but with a more positive or neutral tone:

Instead of "problem," you can use:
  • Challenge
  • Issue
  • Opportunity
  • Difficulty
  • Obstacle
Instead of "fail," you can use:
  • Learn
  • Experience setback
  • Encounter difficulties
  • Fall short
  • Not succeed 

There are so many other words I could mention in this post, but I will choose to stop here. At the end of the day, we all have choices in how we speak to others whether it is casually, professionally or online. I choose to speak in a more positive tone and prefer to spread joy and love. I know we are all wired differently, but I challenge you to take an extra moment to think before you speak or write. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this today. It means a lot. <3

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